By Janice Malone
NASHVILLE, TN — The first U.S. National Tour of the hit musical “The Bodyguard,” starring Grammy® Award-nominated and multi-platinum R&B/Pop recording artist and film/TV actress Deborah Cox, makes its Nashville debut at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall in a limited, one-week run March 21-26, 2017. In addition to Cox’s starring turn as ‘Rachel Marron,’ TV star Judson Mills will play the role of bodyguard ‘Frank Farmer.’
“The Bodyguard” tells the story of former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. A romantic thriller, “The Bodyguard” features a host of irresistible classic songs, including: “So Emotional,” “One Moment in Time,” “Saving All My Love,” “Run to You,” “I Have Nothing,” and one of the biggest selling songs of all time – “I Will Always Love You.”
Singer/actress Jasmin Richardson stars in the role of ‘Niki Marron’ in the musical. Jasmin is most recognized for her new media campaign with Clinique Cosmetics and recently had the privilege to shoot a short film called “Jojo and the Mystical Emporium,” with the dynamic Kevin Reeves.
Richardson also was fortunate enough to perform in the new, critically acclaimed show This is Thirty at the Laurie Beechman in the prestigious New York Musical Theatre Festival.
Like many people, Jasmin saw the original movie “The Bodyguard,” starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, when it was released in 1992. “I was really young when I first saw the movie but my mom was a huge fan of Whitney Houston,” Jasmin tells the Tribune during a break in rehearsal. “I didn’t really watch it (the film) for research or preparation of the role because I wanted to make sure I had my own interpretation of my character (Nikki Marron) but I’ve always been very familiar with the movie, and I love Whitney, so anything she’s ever done, I’m aware of it.”
Jasmin was born in Houston, Texas where she grew up nurturing her love for both singing and writing music in the gospel church. She attended Abilene Christian University earning her B.F.A. in Theater relocating to New York City to begin her professional acting career. With all of her newfound success in musical theater, Jasmin’s alma mater has invited her back to the campus to perform, which she did proudly, with another future visit planned, at the college’s request later this year.
Ms. Richardson’s talents as a singer were recognized while she was still a teen in high school. Several years ago Matthew Knowles, former manager and dad of Beyonce, had auditions for a teen girls singing group in Houston. Jasmin auditioned but she didn’t make the final cut. She adds, “I had to be a junior in high school. I went in for it, made it through that whole process of getting down to the finals, where Matthew was picking which girls would be in the group. I didn’t make it. But I thank God for not making it because the experience really helped me to get to where I am now.”
Jasmin has been so lucky to travel all over the world as the lead in both Broadway National/ International tours Memphis the Musical and Dreamgirls. Other regional credits include Once on This island, Drowsy Chaperone, and Little Shop of Horrors.
The entire cast for The Bodyguard musical has a cast of heavy hitters when it comes to vocal talent. Even though Jasmin is a powerhouse singer in her own right, she readily admits that singing some of the songs of the incomparable Whitney Houston is not for the novice singer. “I still take voice lessons just to maintain the energy that it takes to do her (Whitney’s) songs because they’re very hard. I’m not going to pretend that they are not. They are very, very hard. I had to really study her voice, because you want to have some of her ‘isms’ as far as connecting with that song, and giving the people what they came to hear, but you also want to obviously have your own individuality, which I think Deborah (Cox) and I have found with these songs. When I was first learning the songs, ‘I Will Always Love You’ was extremely hard. But now, it’s one of my favorites,” reveals Jasmin.
The cast and crew of The Bodyguard the Musical will be rolling into Music City next week. Jasmin has visited Nashville in the past, while working in other tours. She says: “It’s been a while since I’ve been to Nashville, but I’m looking forward to coming back because I remember that the food was so good. Everywhere we ate, the food was just outstanding! So, we’re going to have a good time. I hope everyone comes out to the show.”